11 May 2016

NRMA Insurance is reminding New South Wales drivers to take care and be vigilant when merging, with new research revealing merging is a common headache for many Australian drivers.

The insurer’s research showed that more than half (54 per cent) of Australian drivers admitted to having had trouble merging, and over three quarters (83 per cent) claimed to have experienced another driver’s poor merging technique1.

NRMA Insurance Head of Research, Robert McDonald, is urging drivers to be careful when merging.

"Based on our claims data, most merging collisions we see are where drivers have tried to merge with traffic while travelling too slowly, or have completely stopped in the merging lane. This not only disrupts the flow of traffic, but can result in cars being rear-ended,” Mr McDonald said.

"The road rules for merging are quite straightforward – when two lines of traffic become one and there are no marked lines, a driver must give way to any vehicle that is ahead of their own. If a vehicle wants to move from one marked lane of traffic into another, they must give way to the lane of traffic they are moving into.”

The NRMA Insurance research also revealed that around two thirds (65 per cent) of Australian drivers always allow others to merge, with just over one third (35 per cent) sometimes or never letting other drivers merge.

When having experienced another driver’s bad merging manoeuvre, almost half (43 per cent) admitted to responding negatively by either yelling, beeping their horn, using hand gestures, or tailgating the other driver.

To avoid merging mishaps, Mr McDonald offers the following tips to drivers:

  • Merge at a similar speed to the traffic you are merging with – this will make merging easier and assist with traffic flow
  • Avoid stopping in the merging lane, particularly when entering freeways, as this can make merging more difficult
  • When turning left into a multi-lane road that has a merging lane, use it – don’t wait to cross over to the lane you want to be in
  • Always check your mirrors and blind spots before merging and use your indicators
  • Never merge into another lane by crossing a solid line or where there is a painted traffic island
  • Maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you to avoid clipping the car when merging
  • Be considerate in heavy traffic and allow other cars to merge

NRMA Insurance has also released a list of merging locations where collisions most frequently occur across New South Wales.

Top 10 merging locations for New South Wales

  1. Homebush Bay Drive – intersecting with the M4
  2. Parramatta Road – intersecting with the M4 in Parramatta
  3. Cumberland Highway – intersecting with the M4 in Wentworthville
  4. Silverwater Road – intersecting with the M4
  5. Pacific Highway – intersecting with Mona Vale Road
  6. Victoria Road and Church Street junction in Top Ryde
  7. Homebush Bay Drive and Concord Road in Rhodes
  8. Hume Highway – intersecting with the M5 in Liverpool
  9. Princes Highway and Bay Street in Rockdale
  10. Bridge Street, between George Street and Macquarie Street in Sydney

“While several M4 intersections feature in the top ten, mainly due to traffic volume, the worst location for merging collisions is the Homebush Bay Drive intersection with the M4. This location is not only one of the busiest routes heading west, but also has to contend with traffic from Flemington Markets, a major factory outlet and Olympic Park,” Mr McDonald said.

"It’s also worth mentioning that Bridge Street in the Sydney CBD has made the top ten merging collision locations as it is less than 500 metres long. This reflects the volume of CBD traffic coming from the Harbour Bridge, and the complicated merges across the George Street and Macquarie Street intersections."

"We’re urging drivers to take extra care when passing through these intersections. Many of these are popular routes on both weekdays and weekends, so it’s important that drivers remain calm and courteous when in a hurry or heavy traffic.”

1 Based on a survey of over 1000 Australians by Pure Profile Research in January 2016.

Media hotline number: 02 9292 9742.